Dear chirag, learner123, littlelefant, anton86, Yuriehh and whoever would like to go to learn farsi in Iran,
For years I had always wanted to go to Iran to study farsi but could never seem to decide whether to apply to a uni or find a private tutors. there was barely any helpful information online in English either. I had always only considered just going to tehran and dekhoda seemed like the only option. after months they replied to one email and even that were very unhelpful, rude and never actually answered my questions. I nearly gave up, but then a cousin of mine came across ferdowsi in Mashhad. We applied for the course and a month later we were in Iran (finally)! We left in November 2015 and satyed until February 2016.
As amazing as the experience was, I should tell a few pointers incase you decide to embark on the same journey
1) I had always considered only going to Tehran however , Mashhad is a pretty good city too! Not as advanced as Tehran however it has it's own beauties. There are tons of pretty cool coffee shops spread across the city, beautiful towns of Torqabeh and shandiz are just 20 minute drives away and they offer the best and most beautiful persian cuisine. Then there's the holy shrine of Imam Reza - a beautiful spiritual place to go to regardless of religious beliefs.
2) With regards to the actual uni, it wasn't easy at all. When we arrived unfortunately due to the public holidays of Ashura, nothing was prepared for us with regards to accommodation. Beware if you are choosing the $30-40 accommodation, you are pretty much paying for what you get! It was simply disgusting and dirty and sharing a bathroom and kitchen with over 30 people is not what we had in mind. We could not stay there and asked to be transferred. We were sent to the suite which consisted of of a double bed and a single bed, en suite kitchen and bathroom. Not as glamorous as it may sound but much much better then the halls. we were three of us so we split teh costing and it came to $100 a month each.
3)the classes,teacher and students are all very good, nice, warm and friendly. Iranians love foreigners! our classes were mixed with french, germans, koreans, chinese etc. much more mulitcultured then i expected.
I budgeted to stay in iran for just over 3 months but found that in order to learn the language properly, a good 6 motnhs is needed!
4) there is good travel system withing the massive university as well as shops, gyms ans swimming pools. park mellat train station is located just outside the university and is very cheap.
5) withing our time in iran, we managed to travel for a few days to Tehran and esfahan and skiing in shirbad, all of which are amazing! Tehran is crazy busy and as advanced and modern as it is, it can get overwhelming. I would still choose to study in mashhad as it is central and has a good balance.
Make sure you befriend local people, it will help your day to day farsi skills and they will help integrate you. Most of our friends were locals who didn't study at the uni but rather we met through mutual friends at a party and became very close. having local friends was extremely beneficial and helpful. they take you to all the cool places adn ensure you never get ripped off, which happens to pretty much every foreigner (khareeji).
Let me know if you have any other questions and hopefully I can help where possible